Energy Advocates Work to Educate the Public

Contributing Writer

SUPPORTING ENERGY: Working hard to promote a self-sufficient energy nation are Energy Advcocates President Mark Stansberry, Honorary Board member Sherman E. Smith and Board member Will Smith.

JOSH KINGCADE, Energy Advocates

Editor’s Note: This article is the 13th in a multi-part series about the past, present and future of the oil industry in greater Tulsa and throughout the region. The series began in Mid-June 2005 and has been published monthly since. The series is available on the GTR Web site at

On October 17, 1973, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced they would no longer ship petroleum to nations that had supported Israel in its conflict with Syria and Egypt. These nations were the United States and its allies in Western Europe. By then, U.S. dependency on foreign oil had grown to 30 percent.

The embargo’s effect on the petroleum industry was immediate. It doubled the real price of crude oil at the refinery level and caused massive shortages in the U.S. This situation exacerbated a national recession that had already begun, and lead to a global recession through the rest of 1974.

From this dire crisis, the Energy Advocates emerged. Prominent Tulsa oilman Tom Manhart founded the Energy Advocates in 1974. For 26 years it operated from its Tulsa headquarters. In 2000 it opened a branch in Oklahoma City, and by 2003 it began a regional expansion to other states. It is headquartered in Tulsa with offices located at 1437 S. Boulder Ave.

Operating on the theme that “America Needs America’s Energy,” the basic principle of the Energy Advocates is that “Nothing Moves Without Energy.” The organization is dedicated to presenting the public with facts and solutions to the tough questions on the energy issues that face the United States.
Another objective is keeping the membership and general public informed of the changing legislative, environmental and economic issues that impact the energy industry.

Past measures the Energy Advocates has taken to achieve these objectives include sponsoring scholarships, sponsoring an international policy conference, developing a national education campaign through media and advertising, sponsoring booths at energy events, providing materials to the public regarding energy issues and participating in White House forum meetings.

According to the organization’s president, Mark A. Stansberry, “We have a tremendous challenge to educate the public regarding energy. We have continued our mission to educate the American public about its vital energy industry and energy policy issues in a balanced and unbiased manner. The Energy Advocates vision is for America to achieve a clear and balanced energy policy that includes all forms of energy through grassroots initiatives.” He adds, “We have 15 chapter liaisons throughout the United States. We plan to strengthen our current chapters and develop new ones. We also plan to strengthen the public’s awareness of us by continued media presence.”

Desk and Derrick

In March 1949, New Orleans resident Inez Awty Schaeffer organized a group of 12 women, who together became charter members the Desk and Derrick Club, which would grow to become an international organization. Schaeffer’s dream was for oil women, throughout the nation, to organize clubs in an effort to learn more about the petroleum business. Desk and Derrick’s first meeting was held in June 1949. The Association of Desk and Derrick Clubs of North America (ADDC) was formed in July 1951. Its inaugural association president was Lee Wilson Hoover.

Tulsa’s Desk and Derrick Club was founded in 1952 and Tulsa resident Bea Kinnear served as its first president. The Desk and Derrick’s office location changes annually, depending on the current president’s address. Its current location is 5220 S. New Haven Ave. in Tulsa. Tulsa’s chapter is a member of Region 6, made up of five chapters in Oklahoma and five in Kansas. An annual convention is held in various cities drawing an average of 400 members, including members from Canada.

According to 2005 president Lisa Neely Martinez, “Desk and Derrick’s original mission was to provide education to support staff in the petroleum industry and other energy-based industries. I’m a CPA and do taxes for oil and gas companies. Education provided through Desk and Derrick is an excellent resource for me to use in my work.”

As the organization has grown over the years it has broadened its membership base to a variety of professionals including petroleum geologists and engineers. When asked the Desk and Derrick’s contributions to the energy industry today, current President Shelly Gravitte says, “Our theme is ‘Greater Knowledge, Greater Service’ and our focus is education, not only to professionals working in the industry but to the public as well.” When asked about the ways that Desk and Derrick accomplishes this Gravitte says, “A good example is our essay contest. Every year we sponsor the Energy Essay Contest for middle school students. Last year over 800 students from Tulsa and surrounding areas participated. The theme changes each year. Last year’s theme was ‘Glenpool’ in honor of its 100th anniversary. The winner of the contest receives a prize of $500.”

Gravitte adds, “Our focus continues to be education. We want to reach students in order to change their perception of the industry and improve its reputation.”

Updated 06-27-2006

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